On Monday, November 6th, representatives from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GRBEB) and Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
in opposition to S.1839 An Act Relative to Home Energy Efficiency
sponsored by the late Senator Kenneth Donnelly. The bill would require sellers to complete a home energy audit prior to sale and would capture condominiums, single-family homes , and multi-family residential home with fewer than five units.
The bill would require the seller or seller’s agent to disclose to a prospective buyer the information obtained by the energy audit at the time of listing or prior to the signing of a purchase and sale, whichever comes first. It would also direct the state Department of Energy Resources
to establish an energy scoring program for the sale of residential property.
GBREB and MAR have consistently opposed adding new requirements at the time of transfer. In testimony before the Committee, GBREB and MAR expressed concern the legislation will unnecessarily complicate and delay the home buying process as well as impact the negotiation of contracts regarding the acceptability of the ratings. In addition, concerns were raised regarding stigmatizing older homes and adversely impacting home values.
Under current state law
, home inspectors and associate home inspectors are required to provide a document outlining the procedures and benefits of a home energy audit to all clients purchasing a single-family residential dwelling, a multiple-family residential dwelling with less than five dwelling units or a condominium unit in structure with less than five dwelling units. In addition, Massachusetts residential consumers currently pay a surcharge on their energy bills for energy audits they can have performed on their home at no additional cost.
Despite strong opposition from MAR and GBREB, several legislators expressed support for the bill during the public hearing. The bill has seventy-one co-sponsors who support the bill.